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2023 MLB Season Preview: Miami Marlins

The Marlins have improved their lineup this offseason, but it won't be enough to compete in a tough NL East.

Washington Nationals v Miami Marlins Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images

Scrappy. Gritty. Tough. When using these adjectives to describe a sports team, they can sometimes be code for a team that can beat you on any given day, but oftentimes isn’t very good. I present to you the 2023 Miami Marlins. The Marlins are coming off a fourth place finish in a tough NL East, and they project to finish near the bottom again in 2023. The acquisitions of Jean Segura and Luis Arraez bolster this roster offensively, but will it be enough to contend in any form? The simple answer is no.

Miami Marlins
2022 record: 69-93 (4th, NL East)
2023 FanGraphs projection: 75-87 (4th, NL East)

Can you build a roster with only second baseman? The 2023 Miami Marlins will try. Let us start with a player who is playing his proper position, and that is Garrett Cooper. An All-Star last season as a DH, Cooper looks to take on a full-time role at first after splitting time at that position the past couple of seasons. The Marlins also traded for Luis Arraez this offseason to be their everyday second baseman. The AL batting champion last season, Arraez adds a much-needed bat to an offense that struggled for much of last year. However, he did make more starts at first base than he did a second in 2022.

You’re probably wondering what that means for All-Star second baseman Jazz Chisholm Jr. — we will get to him in a bit. The Marlins also acquired Jean Segura this offseason, another second baseman. Segura is slotted to play third base, an unfamiliar position to say the least, having only made 24 appearances at third in his career. The Marlins also have a new everyday shortstop in Joey Wendle, who split time at second, third, and short last season with Miami. For context, he has never been an everyday shortstop. In summary, that’s a lot of guys playing roles that they are not accustomed to.

Most teams don’t take their All-Star second baseman and throw him in center field. But with a clogged infield, that’s exactly what the Marlins are doing with Jazz Chisholm Jr. Yikes. He is a freak athlete, so to say that this transition can’t be done would be selling Chisholm Jr. short, but it does seem risky. Clearly, the Marlins are sacrificing defensive alignment for a chance to improve their offense. I can’t blame them after last season’s performance, but time will tell if that risk pays off. What could also help the Marlins’ offense is a bounce-back season from right fielder Avisaíl García, who posted career lows in batting average and OPS. Rounding out the outfield will be Bryan De La Cruz, with Jorge Soler likely to be the primary DH.

Maybe I have been too negative. There is one major positive for the Marlins: Sandy Alcantara. The 27-year-old is coming off a magnificent year that culminated in an NL Cy Young award. You cannot ask for more than that at the top of your rotation. The Marlins’ right-hander will lead a group of starters that have talent but are looking to stay healthy and be more consistent heading into 2023. Edward Cabrera has top-end stuff, but his inability to stay healthy has limited his chances to showcase his talent. Trevor Rogers was second in NL Rookie of the Year voting in 2021 but regressed last season. A slow start to the season and injuries derailed the second-year starter, who is looking to find his mechanics and dominance again in 2023.

First-year manager Skip Schumaker has his work cut out for him. I think certain offseason additions have improved the Marlins’ lineup, but I still don’t see them scoring consistently enough to make an impact in the NL East. Heavily relying on bounce-back seasons and position players, well, out of their positions, seems like a recipe for some growing pains in 2023.

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